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Vol 166 No 4 CoNgregatioNalist org DeCember 2014 3 75 Forgot te N gr o m ytus iF o r f church s past MeAsure s u CC e s s by the Jesus metriC What to say to t h o s e i n grieF iNstallatioN is it CoNgregatioNal c o n g r e g a t i o n a l i s t o r g Published by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
Vol. 166 No. 4  CoNgregatioNalist.org  DeCember 2014   3.75  Forgot te N  gr o m ytus iF o r f  church   s past  MeAsure s...
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A COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT    I   M A PASTOR, NOT IS SOMETHING AEVERYONE SHOULD SINK INTO. FINANCIAL PLANNER.  THANKFULLY, M...
r e l at i o N going our Way E lias Smith 1769 1846 founded and edited the Herald of Gospel Liberty probably the first religious journal in the United States 1808 and a significant forerunner of The Congregationalist Edward Beecher 1803 1895 noted theologian preacher and Abolitionist served as the founding senior editor in 1849 of The Congregationalist Henry Martyn Dexter 1821 1890 personified American Congregationalism in the mid to late 19th century wrote important books on the subject and for many years edited The Congregationalist Joseph B Polhemus 1919 2013 who lives as Joe in the memories of many still alive gained distinction in the fields of advertising marketing and business communications and served for 15 years 1989 2004 as editor of The Congregationalist These four shared a deep passion for communicating about things that matter things at the heart of our faith journey Besides that what do they all have in common Answer Each of them is memorialized on a simpleyet elegant coated paper bookmark that we award to people who give 100 or more to support this magazine through the Editor s Round Table Those who give at exceptional levels qualify for one of the named societies commemorating Smith Beecher and Dexter The rest of us get a simple brown bookmark one which bears this observation by the late Joe Polhemus The Congregationalist and the NACCC are more dependent on each other than independent Their future is the same This week mailing out personal letters of thanks to our recent Editor s Round Table donors it occurred to us that nobody gives that kind of money to get a paper bookmark nor even to join a society named after Smith or Beecher or Henry Martyn Dexter Our dear heroic Editor s Round Table donors deserve our thanks for giving strenuously over and over again because they believe in the mission of The Congregationalist they believe that our gathered covenanted kind of Christianity has something to say to the world and they want to be a part of that movement It s not too late to get on board We still have a few bookmarks left Norm Lenburg L arry SommerS Editor 3
r e l at i o N  going our Way   E  lias Smith, 1769-1846, founded and edited the Herald of Gospel Liberty, probably the fi...
Vol 166 No 4 CoNgregatioNalist org DeCember 2014 F e at u r e s 8 13 ForgotteN giFts by Jim Waechter Lois Rosebrooks get your ChurCh NotiCeD by Les Wicker 16 the Jesus metriC by Don Mayberry 20 What Do i say to the grieViNg by Beth Bingham 23 lost aND FouND through goD s graCe by Kristen Schuyler 25 4 Alan Barnett 27 Who iNstalleD Paul by Harvey Lord ChristiaN ForgiVeNess uNCoNDitioNal Not entirely says a scholar by David Brattson
Vol. 166 No. 4  CoNgregatioNalist.org  DeCember 2014  F e at u r e s  8  13  ForgotteN giFts  by Jim Waechter   Lois Roseb...
e D i t o r i a l s tat e m e N t All content in The Congregationalist appears by the authority of the editor We reserve freedom of expression to our authors and freedom of opinion to our readers Except for service information clearly sponsored by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches or its component parts content does not necessarily reflect policies and opinions of the National Association Neither The Congregationalist nor the National Association has a creed or holds positions on social or theological issues but we recognize the authority of each local church to do so for itself if and as it wishes and we encourage thoughtful and respectful discussion of our agreements and differences D e Pa r tm e Nt s 3 Vol 166 No 4 December 2014 relatioN Going Our Way 6 by Way oF mutual Care Great Joy Profound Hope 7 straNgers aND Pilgrims Johnathan Edwards Conclusion 30 more light 32 NeWs aND NeeDs 34 Net meNDiNg Alan Barnett Always Room for Trello 35 letters 35 mastheaD 36 aloNg the Way 39 Pastorates aND PulPits 39 CaleNDar oN the CoVer Plymouth Church Brooklyn N Y started archiving its papers and artifacts in 2004 Five members of Plymouth s History Ministry team are shown working on photos and books in the archive From left Kathie Lou Moser and Frank Decker standing Jim Waechter Lois Rosebrooks and Grace Faison seated 5
e D i t o r i a l s tat e m e N t All content in The Congregationalist appears by the authority of the editor. We reserve ...
by Way o F m u t ua l C a r e great Joy Profound hope by Casey vanderBent W hen I began service as the interim executive secretary over 18 months ago I wrote about my great joy and profound hope at the tasks before me Now nearing the close of this chapter of our shared journey I still feel the same way Much has happened in the past year and a half We have experienced many changes in the way our association looks and functions We have welcomed new churches and new leaders and we have said good bye to old friends We have worked hard together and have crossed the threshold of our structural change into a new day for our association It has been a tremendous joy to participate so fully in all of this I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to know each day that I am exactly where God wants me to be I pray that same sense of joyful certainty for your next executive director Over the coming months as I complete my service to you and await confirmation of my next calling I will not relax in the enthusiastic pursuit of the best interests of this association and its member churches I ve called these quarterly conversations By Way of Mutual Care from the Cambridge Platform s list of reasons for churches to join in fellowship By way of mutual care in taking thought for one another s welfare This mutual care continues to be the work of each of us the work of every member church the work of the Leadership Team and staff and the work we are called to as Christians bound in covenant in the Congregational Way Now as we move forward into our shared future I pray that you will renew your commitment to that mutual care that has bound us together since before the Pilgrims arrived on these shores Ask for the Lord s help in discerning how you can offer care in your locality or how your church can engage in mutual care in fellowship with other Congregational churches Be diligent perhaps through the work of your church s Year Round Delegate in making the association aware of how it may care for you and be just as diligent in caring for your association Continuing in the profound hope with which I began this journey I pray for God s continued blessing and guidance for the NACCC for our churches and for each of you Thank you for giving me this opportunity and for walking this journey with me Casey vanderBent Executive Secretary 6
by Way o F m u t ua l C a r e  great Joy, Profound hope by Casey vanderBent  W  hen I began service as the interim executi...
straNgers aND Pilgrims Jonathan edwards Conclusion S ydney Ahlstrom writes On 1 July 1750 he preached his farewell sermon at the Northampton Church After dedicating twenty three years of his life to Northampton making it for a time a famous center of orthodoxy and revived spirituality he was set adrift with a wife and seven dependent children 1 Edwards was lifted from the anxieties of his expulsion by a call to Stockbridge Massachusetts a frontier town where the Bay Colony s Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs maintained a mission Although he also had to carry on a double ministry to the whites and to the Indians he now was free from many time stealing distractions The Stockbridge years actually became the most productive in his life 2 In a later chapter Ahlstrom sums up the communion controversy that caused Edwards s dismissal by his Northampton church The membership pledge he asked for was no more rigorous than the Anglican confirmation vow Yet he did make a decisive break with the accepted principles of Stoddardeanism and he cast a shadow upon the Half Way Covenant He rejected the older view that New England s total corporate errand was part of God s design His grandfather s easy identification of town meeting and church meeting was found wanting The church he was convinced must be gathered out of the world On this general point Edwards s influence exerted through his books sermons and example was decisive and he has been called in truth the father of modern Congregationalism 3 In today s theological jargon Edwards would be called a postmillennialist John von Rohr tells us He saw the Great Awakening as the beginning of the millennium soon more fully to come and by God s providence commencing in America 4 1 Sydney E Ahlstrom A Religious History of the American People New Haven Yale University Press 1972 304 2 Ibid 3 Ibid 305 4 John von Rohr The Shaping of American Congregationalism 1620 1957 Cleveland The Pilgrim Press 1992 244 Adapted and reprinted with permission from The Congregational Minute by Robert Hellam Seaside Calif Robert Hellam 2012 All these died in faith and received not the promises but saw them afar off and believed them and received them thankfully and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth Hebrews 11 13 geneva bible 7
straNgers aND Pilgrims...  Jonathan edwards, Conclusion  S  ydney Ahlstrom  writes          On 1 July 1750, he preached hi...
Forgotten Gifts John Arbuckle s gifts included the 4 story church house arcade and garden pictured here plus a gymnasium Today these spaces house church offices the Sunday school a reception and music rooms a thrift store and a 160 student nursery school E very church has donors and gifts from prior years that go unremembered by the current congregation Discovering and honoring these past contributions can breathe new life into your church in the present day In celebrating an anniversary earlier this year Plymouth Church in Brooklyn N Y dug in its archives and unearthed an exceptional example of a forgotten gift Plymouth member John Arbuckle early in the 20th century donated land adjacent to the meeting house and paid for demolition of nine houses occupying the property Then he donated the design construction and furnishings for a four story church house gymnasium and arcade plus a large garden If these 8 by Lois Rosebrooks and James Waechter gifts were made today they would be valued at more than 50 million If not for two quotes from the donor over fireplaces in Plymouth s Church House reception and music rooms this remarkable gift might have been forgotten forever So who was John Arbuckle and how were his gifts almost forgotten Arbuckle came to New York City from Pittsburgh in 1871 The 32 year old entrepreneur had worked in his family s grocery and spice business but he now wanted to bring his innovations to the center of the Alan Barnett Dig into your church s history with a team approach and discover unsuspected gold
Forgotten Gifts  John Arbuckle   s gifts included the 4-story church house, arcade and garden pictured here, plus a gymnas...
From coffee baron to benefactor Arbuckle s vision and energy to transform an entire industry also extended to caring for his fellow man Hundreds of New York City poor were given jobs in his factories In addition to daily pay workers received free health care in the company hospital and free lunch and dinner in company dining rooms Arbuckle used his fleet of ships the country s largest in private hands to take employees and other non elite New Yorkers out on harbor waters at night and on weekends for clean air and nutritious food Among Arbuckle s many humanitarian projects was a retirement colony for the city s elderly poor on Lake Mohonk north of New York City The complex including Alan Barnett The arcade built by Arbuckle connects the church house and gymnasium with the sanctuary Today this space contains historical displays paintings of the church s settled senior ministers and even a piece of Plymouth Rock Alan Barnett American coffee trade Arbuckle settled in Brooklyn joined Plymouth Church and proceeded to transform America s coffee drinking habits Through the time of the Civil War coffee was sold green the beans had to be roasted at home on a wood stove or in a skillet over a campfire before they could be ground and brewed into a hot beverage One burned bean could ruin the flavor Arbuckle and his brother Charles in 1865 patented a process for uniformly roasting coffee beans and using an egg andsugar glaze to seal in the flavor and aroma They sold their beans in airtight one pound packages From the chuck wagons of the West to the dinner parties of the East Arbuckle s Ariosa and Yuban coffee brands took the market by storm By the 1890s Arbuckle s huge operation in Brooklyn was producing 839 000 pounds of coffee a day His factories and offices occupied 12 square blocks with piers on the Brooklyn waterfront for his fleet of ships and barges and a railroad for transporting coffee and sugar from the Brooklyn shoreline to the factories An exhibit describing John Arbuckle s extraordinary gift to Plymouth Church is on display in the gallery of the building complex he had designed and built for the church The portrait hanging on the wall nearby is of the church s first settled minister the Rev Henry Ward Beecher Continued on p 10 9
From coffee baron to benefactor Arbuckle   s vision and energy to transform an entire industry also extended to caring for...
Continued from p 9 Early on the His tory Minis try realized that illuminating church his tory is much more exciting when it can be related to the p re sent and future of the church hotels for his company s workers made it a point to hire handicapped workers to teach them a trade One of Arbuckle s last projects was his extraordinary gift to Plymouth Church He had belonged to the church for more than 40 years and greatly admired Henry Ward Beecher Plymouth s first minister His idea was to have the church provide a school and clubhouse for the penniless coming to New York to seek their fortune Evenings and weekends school attendees had the opportunity to study business subjects preparing them for business careers Today the church makes use of these gifts every day of the week and in 2014 has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the grand opening of the buildings and garden How could Arbuckle and his remarkable gift have been forgotten by Plymouth Church John Arbuckle died in 1912 prior to completion of the buildings Two sisters in Pittsburgh inherited the company and eventually sold it to General Foods Over time all memory among friends and church staff of Arbuckle s role in the community and at Plymouth Church simply faded away John Arbuckle moved to Brooklyn in 1871 joined Plymouth Church and proceeded to transform the coffee industry in America Over the decades that followed the man and his extraordinary gifts to Plymouth were nearly forgotten Alan Barnett photo of oil painting by unknown artist 10 How to reclaim church history The institutional process of forgetting is not unusual and at Plymouth several steps are being taken to recall more of the church s history 1 Forming a volunteer group of members interested in the church s history Called the History Ministry this group started meeting regularly about ten years ago establishing modest goals and celebrating accomplishments Much of their effort focused on highlighting Plymouth s role in the Underground Railroad Over time relationships formed with other local state and national historical groups and today tours of the church are given on a regular basis
Continued from p. 9  Early on, the His tory Minis try realized that illuminating church his tory is much more exciting whe...
Brooklyn s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era A Ministry of Freedom by Frank Decker and Lois Rosebrooks Charleston S C The History Press 2013 is available from Amazon for 16 31 in paperback or 9 99 for Kindle Alan Barnett 2 Locating the church s archives Plymouth had an old stuff closet where every nook and cranny was filled with boxes of papers and where things no one knew what to do with were stored The History Ministry started the long process of collecting cataloging and preserving its archives and historic objects Papers were organized and put into acid free folders and boxes to slow further deterioration and then everything was stored on movable racks to make it more accessible The group quickly learned this archiving process was overwhelming so help needed to be found see 3 below The current project focused beyond the old stuff closet is to photograph the church s artwork antique furniture and stained glass windows 3 Finding local interns to help with the cataloging and preserving process The History Ministry contacted local colleges and universities and the church archive became a class project Students got class credit for working on the archive and summer interns were also brought in to help with the ongoing task The good news is that all this work did not cost the church anything 4 Exhibiting some findings Plymouth is fortunate to have some exhibit space with display cases two cases were donated by a local auction house owned by a member and five cases came from a state agency because of the church s role in the Underground Railroad Themed exhibits are now developed and mounted by the History Ministry every 1824 months John Arbuckle s story is the current exhibit Another way the history of the church has been exhibited is through a book completed last year Two members of the History Ministry Frank Decker and Lois Rosebrooks researched and wrote Brooklyn s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era A The History Ministry team enjoys its work From left Kathie Lou Moser and Frank Decker standing Jim Waechter Lois Rosebrooks and Grace Faison seated Continued on p 12 11
Brooklyn   s Plymouth Church in the Civil War Era  A Ministry of Freedom, by Frank Decker and Lois Rosebrooks  Charleston,...
Continued from p 11 Ministry of Freedom The book details anti slavery activities of church members and friends before and during the Civil War 5 Connecting church history discoveries to the present and future Early on the History Ministry realized that illuminating church history is much more exciting when it can be related to the present and future of the church Plymouth s previous antislavery role has led to current participation in antihuman trafficking programs locally nationally and internationally Members have also organized and operate a thrift store which donates a percentage of its profits to anti human trafficking programs Plymouth Church made the choice to have history become a source of inspiration to the congregation Current members have begun to embrace the church s history when thinking about what Plymouth should be doing today and in the future A longtime member of Plymouth Church Lois Rosebrooks has been active on the Church Council and in the Plymouth Church Choir She has led the children s Christian Education Ministry and has been active in the Adult Christian Education Ministry Lois currently is the director of History Ministry Services at Plymouth and serves on the Vitality Council of the NACCC James Waechter has been a member of Plymouth Church for 28 years serving on the Plymouth Council including as president He chaired the NACCC Strategic Planning task force and served on the Executive Committee including the task force to rewrite the by laws Jim s married daughter HaeNa lives in Brooklyn is actively involved at Plymouth Church McGraft Memorial NAPF HOPE 2015 Muskegon Michigan Scholarships Available Congregational Church Located in Western Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan SeekinG Full TiMe Senior PaSTor our Purpose Statement Celebrate God through worship and praise Care and serve in Christian love Lead people to Christ and into the family of God Encourage spiritual growth See our Church Information Form on the NACCC Also see our Web site at www mcgraftchurch org 12 Application Deadline January 2 2015 If you need financial assistance to attend this year s NAPF HOPE Youth Conference go to naccc org for a link to the Scholarship Application Form DO NOt DElAY Applications are due January 2 2015
Continued from p. 11  Ministry of Freedom. The book details anti-slavery activities of church members and friends before a...
Why market your church and how can you get started Get Your Noticed First Congregational Church Naples Fla Alan James Church Alan James Alan Jame T he folks on Madison Avenue do not have the inside track on marketing but we can learn a great deal from them and grow our churches by applying their techniques approaches that increase the appeal of whatever is being promoted We may be reluctant to use the term but we all market our church at some level whether just speaking well of it or having an intentional plan to grow church membership through a diversified approach including the use of media in any form I firmly believe every church can grow its membership whether rural or urban large or small traditional or contemporary It is only a matter of applying certain principles which are time proven Question Why do you buy a certain product and pay more for it than another similar product Why do the New York Yankees have such a following of fans Why is there a waiting list to obtain a seat in Lambeau Field to watch the Green Bay Packers It is all the same basic reason Marketing plants a thought in our heads that one product is superior to another and people like to follow winning teams Both the teams we root for and the products we buy s by Les Wicker Exciting and interesting things are happening in your church Let people in your community know about them 13
Why market your church, and how can you get started   Get Your  Noticed   First Congregational Church, Naples, Fla.  Alan ...
are reflections of who we see ourselves to be It s a lot about our self image in purchasing a product or rooting for a team that makes us feel good about ourselves Whether we admit it or not the same principle is true of why people are attracted to one church over another Our church is an extension of who we see ourselves to be and while we want to believe there are more virtuous reasons for choosing a particular church our selfimage and what we have been led to believe about a particular church do come into play Impact cards like those shown here can be mailed to any number of addresses in your community at a reasonable cost 14 So why market your church First of all you are marketing the church to its own members Whatever form of marketing a church chooses to promote its programs it will discover the very first people to receive the message are the members themselves Marketing energizes people and gets them excited about themselves and their own church When the energy starts flowing good things begin to happen Members get on board and begin to promote their church When the energy flow starts streaming people feel it Just like the products we buy or the winning teams we like to identify with church folk will get excited about their church Truth is If the members of a church are not excited who will be Secondly marketing draws attention Period Exclamation point We never think about the media that is flowing into our living rooms or dens or that is on the air waves every day We are
are reflections of who we see ourselves to be. It   s a lot about our self-image in purchasing a product or rooting for a ...
not even conscious we are being influenced by the marketing gurus but the subliminal message is being planted When we go to a store consider buying a car or pull for a team we are already programmed to go in a certain direction and we don t even know it The same principle works in growing a church People do not come to you you must go to them You must develop a plan and stick to it A pro active church that markets its wares will always grow Over the years I have taken many approaches to marketing Radio spots billboards newspaper ads televising the services impact cards newsletters electronic newsletters attendance campaigns free stuff visitations press releases e mail blasts free food a Thought for the Day and every possible approach I could think of to get the church s name out in front of the people What I have found is what I share with you It works at any level It gets people excited and it grows the church Such a simple thing as mailing out unused bulletins to members who did not show up on Sunday is worth far more than the effort it takes Newsletters should be exciting positive and upbeat a lot less copy and a lot more pictures of people involved in ministry People love to get newsletters from their church but more than just getting a newsletter they love to hear the exciting things that are happening After all since it is their church it is them it is who they are The homebound especially read newsletters word for word Constant Contact and other e mail blast methods are inexpensive ways to get messages out Grow those lists Just go to ConstantContact com and you will be on the way to staying in touch on a weekly basis at a nominal cost Impact cards are a way to reach thousands of people with a personal message about your church on a colorful 5 x 8 postcard You can probably find a local printer that will create and mail these to any ZIP code you choose we ve done that and we ve also gone online to Vistaprint www vistaprint com Finally remember Beginning is half the job By the time you take it through every committee and board of the church it might take six months or longer and people lose their enthusiasm Also remember Every person is a prospect Just do it Make it happen and you ll be glad The Rev Dr Les Wicker is a graduate of the Divinity School of Duke University and holds a Ph D from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro He has conducted numerous seminars on church growth UCC churches he served in North Carolina and Florida each grew from memberships of 500 to over 800 He currently serves First Congregational Church of Naples a new church plant in 2004 that now has more than 200 members North Shore Congregational Church Fox Point Wisconsin Searching for a Senior Minister See details via www NorthShoreCongl org and www NACCC org 15
not even conscious we are being influenced by the marketing gurus, but the subliminal message is being planted. When we go...
The pastor of a growing church cautions that success must take a back seat to love The Jesus Metric by Don Mayberry F rom time to time I think about the little church I grew up in It was a small gathering of our neighbors who always seemed to be there whenever the church doors were open They did the work of being the church way before I knew 16 that worship meant the work of the people I never wondered if we were successful or if we would grow in size but there was always something good and warm and loving happening there that I took for granted as a kid If the leaders of that small
The pastor of a growing church cautions that success must take a back seat to love.  The Jesus Metric  by Don Mayberry  F ...
church ever thought about growth or success the kids never heard the discussion We heard about Jesus love and grace and a little too much about sin but that s another story We felt nurtured and cared for It makes me wonder How do we measure the value of a church and determine if it is succeeding What is success for a church anyway As I was leaving the room where I had just taken part in a panel on church growth at the NACCC Annual Meeting and Conference in Omaha I recalled something a pastor friend told me that he had recently said to his church We are bigger than we think more than we appear to be he told them By that he meant that although the size of the congregation might not be numerically impressive the impact they had in their community and in the lives of one another was of great significance They had missions within the community such as a food pantry literacy volunteers and mentoring efforts and ministries within the church worship study support and fellowship It was a beautiful remark and an encouraging reminder that there are more ways than one to measure the success of a church This comment might be especially meaningful to many small churches in our association that often are indeed bigger than they think I enjoyed taking part in that panel on church growth and sharing some of the things that have helped us grow in size and in spirit at We are told to love Love is the marker in the Jesus Metric First Congregational Church in South Paris Maine Furthermore I felt the comments from others on the panel and from the room full of attendees were all good and healthy Still I had the feeling we were missing something All too often we measure our churches by the wrong metric We are so accustomed to thinking bigger is better and more is a sign of success that we focus on the numbers and can easily forget what we hope to accomplish as churches in the first place I understand the desire to grow a church in size and admit taking satisfaction when the church I serve has experienced growth After 20 years as a pastor I do understand the financial pressures we are all operating under There is an unspoken hope that in addition 17
church ever thought about growth or success, the kids never heard the discussion. We heard about Jesus, love, and grace  a...
to people joining the church for all of the spiritually good reasons they will help us carry the water financially too However when we look at our fellowships through what I will call The American Success Metric we miss the more important Jesus Metric Let me draw a distinction between the two measurements The success metric is a business viewpoint Although it is understandable how it happens using this measurement for a church is unfortunate We can and should celebrate when new members join when we meet our budgets and when the community values us but there is more Recall the promise of Jesus that where two or three are gathered he is also present A Jesus Metric would measure our gentle presence in the community the love and affirmation we offer one another as we strive to let our faith take root and grow This way of measurement would look at things such as our work in feeding the hungry welcoming the other lifting up God s Word and offering a healing balm Instead of measuring people in the pews it would measure the spirit in the church body as we visit the sick comfort the grieving and pray for one another As we drove home from Omaha we stopped at the Mississippi River where the water was wide and the 18 current was swift There was a ferry that crossed the river taking cars between Missouri and Illinois As we stood by the banks of the river we watched this ferry laboring against the current as it made its way across the water It struck me as a beautiful metaphor of the work of the church There is a powerful current at work in the world right now The church has a role as a counter balance in what can be a bitter and self oriented world We are called to offer a different way the Jesus way Don t just counter intolerance with tolerance take the next step and love Scripture doesn t say Tolerate one another as God has tolerated you We are told to love Love is the marker in the Jesus Metric This world loves to hold a grudge loves to be angry and resentful and when possible to get even Jesus talks about evening the score not through retribution but through grace and forgiveness The church is present to speak the language of God into our communities As we preach teach and model such grace we become the salt of the earth adding a flavor that would otherwise be missing With the Jesus Metric we are no longer counting people in the pews but counting on the people in the pews to live love and move in such ways as to make God present When that takes place we become bigger than we know
to people joining the church for all of the    spiritually good    reasons, they will help us carry the water financially ...
There is often a beautiful side benefit of living the Jesus Metric People will want to join you When love and encouragement are offered in sermons and in works from a congregation slowly one by one people will join you They may or may not arrive every Sunday morning at 10 a m for services but you will feel a comradery of Spirit that will show up in conversations in the food store at a funeral or in other community settings This salt of the earth flavoring has appeal As much as I want to pack the pews I think Jesus wants us to impact our communities with grace and humility In South Paris Maine we have been blessed with a remarkable growth for a church in a rural setting We have done very little to bring about this growth apart from striving to let Jesus show In a world that is polarized we have offered hospitality to one another When many churches stub their toes on the drama of the day we purposely remind ourselves that we have joined a church not a drama club When hungry neighbors come to our door and in a rural community where poverty is rampant they come in droves we attempt to feed them When there is a joy we share it and when there is a loss we grieve together When there are pastoral needs in the community this church has encouraged me to be present None of this is done to grow the church but to be the church The size of the congregation is less important than the heart of the congregation It is humble work we are called to so humble sometimes that we miss its beauty and value When we have victories that can be measured on a business success metric give thanks But if you are a small church that seems destined to remain small and struggling to pay the bills measure your efforts on the Jesus Metric recalling the words Beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News Then simply put one foot in front of the other giving thanks for God s gift of the local church The Reverend Don Mayberry has been senior pastor at First Congregational Church in South Paris Maine since 2001 He has been a moderator of the Maine association and has done committee work and Annual Meeting presentations for the NACCC Don was ordained in the American Baptist tradition in July 1997 SEEKING A SENIOR MINISTER Plymouth Church a thriving 500 member church in Brooklyn New York seeks a SENIOR MINISTER to take us to the next level of spiritual development and growth Founded in 1847 first pastored by Henry Ward Beecher we continue our Christ centered ministry of adult and children s spiritual education and ministries to our local and global communities Aligned with and housed in the church buildings is the Plymouth Church School a 2 year through kindergarten preschool which also runs a summer camp Our congregation includes families particularly those with young children a large number of professionals and longtime members of the community While Plymouth is a member of NACCC our members are from diverse religious backgrounds We are united in our desire to continue to grow together in community and faith We seek an experienced energetic minister who is a dynamic preacher and a collaborative leader Successful candidates will have at least a M Div or equivalent and 15 years experience as a minister with at least one post as a senior minister Compensation package includes salary benefits and housing For detailed information please visit our web site Plymouthsearch org Contact our search committee by email at search plymouthchurch org or Search Committee Plymouth Church 75 Hicks Street Brooklyn NY 11201 All inquiries strictly confidential 19
There is often a beautiful side benefit of living the Jesus Metric. People will want to join you. When love and encouragem...
What can we say and do to support the bereaved in their passage of loss what do i say Grieving to the by Elizabeth E Bingham M ore than 30 years ago I wrote an article for this magazine called What Shall I Say to the Grieving I wrote it because I saw so many people who were uncomfortable in the presence of grief They felt awkward and tongue tied and didn t know how to respond I wanted to help them I wrote from my experience as a chaplain and as the assistant minister at the Congregational Church of the Chimes Sherman Oaks Calif Today I write from a different place as a different person In November 2011 my husband Paul died after battling leukemia for a year Suddenly everything changed I was still minister and still mother But now I was widow too And sadly enough in the months that followed Paul s death ten other women in our congregation found themselves widowed too We meet regularly and share some of what we struggle with from filling out paperwork to taking out the trash We are surprised that most of us have the television on every evening just to fill the silence We understand how tears come 20 unexpectedly We even admit how sometimes we get angry when sprinklers break or the dogs need to be walked or we are simply tired of going everywhere alone We also talk about what has helped us through the shadows as others have reached out to us In answer to the question What do I say to the grieving Say Something What should you say Don t worry about saying something that will hurt Because we hurt so much already that nothing can hurt us more Don t walk away from us or exclude us or avoid us because you are afraid you will say something wrong We understand that Your words may feel awkward or inadequate to you but your willingness to talk to us and be with us is priceless We may not be able to respond well but it means a great deal to know that you have cared enough to say a word or write a note What should you say Nothing has meant more to all of us than the memories that you have Don t be
What can we say and do to support the bereaved in their passage of loss   what do i say  Grieving   to the  by Elizabeth E...
afraid to talk about the person who died because you think it will be hard for us to hear We may even get misty eyed at your remembering but hearing about our loved ones from those who knew them is priceless I learned things about Paul I never knew and I still smile and laugh at the stories from people I didn t know from times long before I was a part of his life What should you say Because every relationship is different every loss is experienced differently So instead of saying I know just how you feel you might say something like I can t imagine how you feel It must be so hard I may not say anything back or I may tell you just what it is like And if I do if I open up to you please stay with me and know that I am trusting you with my feelings and that is precious to me I can chuckle now remembering the Saturday morning not long after Paul died I was leaving the gym when a friend was arriving How are you doing he asked I answered honestly Not so well right now For some reason early mornings to and from the gym were hard for me I looked at him gratefully for caring enough to ask He looked at me in utter panic The next time I saw him he waved to me from afar and didn t come over to talk What should you say Say something And Do something I have said it so many times and I have meant it I heard it so many times and I know that the people who said it meant it too Let me know if there is anything I can do to help Call me if you need anything But the problem was I had no idea what I needed I hadn t ever felt this way I hadn t been on my own for a long time And as my widowed friends suggested asking for help wasn t something any of us did very easily What really helped was when someone called with a specific offer whether it was bringing food or giving a ride to the mechanic or just coming over to help go through paper work And while I know my friends didn t want to intrude and while I sometimes wasn t ready to go to a movie or take a hike the offers were never intrusive They were comforting and loving and healing 21
afraid to talk about the person who died, because you think it will be hard for us to hear. We may even get misty-eyed at ...
Please don t stay away Our world has become terribly lonely and while we might not be good company we need good company The hardest part has not been people who say something wrong or who have trouble finding words at all The hardest part has been when the people we have known disappear at a time when we need them the most In my earlier article I wrote about Job s three friends who sat with him for seven days without speaking They stayed with him in his sadness and sorrow bearing his burden with him That was a great gift What do you have to offer someone who is grieving Nothing more and nothing less than kindness and 22 friendship and love and presence Jesus said Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted Let us be comforters to one another The Rev Elizabeth E Bingham is in her 21st year as senior minister at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Pomona Calif Pilgrim has a strong tradition of pastoral care including parish nursing a caregivers support group and lay visitation Beth previously served NACCC churches in Fox Point Wis Sherman Oaks Calif and Anchorage Alaska and was a hospital chaplain in Milwaukee
Please don   t stay away. Our world has become terribly lonely and while we might not be good company, we need good compan...
What miracles may we witness with Christ as our guide even to the ends of the earth Lost and Found through God s grace Photos and story by Kristen Schuyler A thin strand of dark hair fell in front of her face as she bowed her head slowly Her small bony arm reached out to touch my shoulder as she tried to smile but instead her eyes became moist as she kept her face to the ground She was a single mother raising three children all under the age of 15 She lived in a tiny shack no bigger than the size of an average American garage and the walls and roof were just giant scraps of metal There was a stream right beside their home where dozens of banana and mango trees flourished beginning at their driveway and spreading down the stream and over the hills Amid the beauty of the Tahitian mountain on which we stood this family was obviously struggling With torn clothes and muddy feet the children giggled and chased tiny kittens around the yard My friends and I stood with this woman as she shared her heartache with us She had just been diagnosed with cancer and her oldest daughter was preparing for the journey of taking care of her siblings all on her own The woman s name was Painu which means lost in Tahitian We all placed our hands on her and prayed for her and her family for healing restoration and guidance In that moment she accepted the love from a Redeemer who revealed Himself to her in His own divine way despite language barriers and she no longer felt the physical pain her cancer had been bringing her just minutes prior to our prayers I could barely believe it Did God just do something completely and absolutely supernatural in this woman s life There was no physical evidence that I could see with my own eyes but this poor broken woman had been given an unimaginable hope There was a new glimmer in her eyes that made her able to look at us face to face and accept the groceries we had brought her without looking ashamed as she had when we first arrived Painu explained in French that she felt someone wanted to save her and that person was trying to knock on the door of her heart Our friend AnneMarie was able to translate Painu s story to our group We were truly amazed at how God could display His power when we allowed Him to do His work So often we ask God to bless the things we have decided to do without understanding that He already 23
What miracles may we witness with Christ as our guide, even    to the ends of the earth      Lost and Found through  God  ...
The YWAM mission team prays for Painu and her family has a path filled with blessings ordained for each of us This past year I learned to walk beside God wherever He is walking instead of asking God to walk with me where I want to go Last year as I approached a new chapter of my life graduating high school and seeing all of my classmates applying for college and planning out their course God gave me the verse Proverbs 16 9 The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps At that point I was simply going to do what all my classmates were doing apply to college attend in the fall and go through the motions flowing in the direction the river current of life is pushing But God tugged at my heart through a spontaneous but intense desire He placed in my being I needed to go to Australia I researched missionary organizations and decided to take a five month course with Youth With A Mission God gave the plan the organization the money and miraculously the courage to fly across the world and start an extremely intimate journey with Him I spent 12 weeks studying doing ministry and working at the YWAM base in Sydney before our team decided God was calling us to Tahiti Thailand and Cambodia We split up and spent the final eight weeks on outreach in these places This journey was a completely transforming experience One major topic the Lord worked with me on is the idea of surrender He taught me about His character and His nature and we worked on my lack of trust in 24 Him Through this however I discovered that He is trustworthy God has anointed each of us for something spectacular As we grow older we decide what we do and don t like to do and we make crucial decisions about our futures and careers without asking God because we are afraid God will not approve of our happiness and success On the contrary God loves happiness and success The reason why God has such a strong desire for us to walk with Him and surrender our own plans is because He has much bigger plans for us than we could have ever imagined ourselves He might even send you halfway around the globe just so you can understand that truth I would have never discovered this mystery about God if He hadn t blessed me with not only a desire to seek wisdom but a church to grow up in where I was taught that God would walk with me with each step I took Being involved in the Congregational Church of Bound Brook N J see The Little Church that Could March 2012 pp 24 25 I learned that I could go straight to God with anything and God would speak directly to me rather than through leaders in my church although sometimes He does this as well I didn t need to get a word from a priest or ask permission from my pastor to understand what God was calling me to do This was very important in this journey because God directly influenced and changed my heart God is holy but God has also reconciled us to Himself Having a direct relationship with my Lord was essential for me to be able to understand what His will is and to understand where He needs me to be My friends and I waved to Painu as we pulled out of the narrow road beside her house and drove away She and all three of her children waved back huge smiles on their faces We should change her name from Lost to Found said Holly one of our team members Continued on p 38
The YWAM mission team prays for Painu and her family.  has a path filled with blessings ordained for each of us. This past...
When a minister is installed just who does the installing the local church or some higher body Who Installed Paul by Harvey Lord I rae vaughn Lucas have attended services of installation for Congregational Christian ministers during my years in the ministry and have even taken part in such services but with reluctance reluctance because such services have the potential for abuse and misunderstanding If it is made clear that the church is installing the minister with assistance and concurrence of the council of the vicinage other churches in its vicinity then such a service may not be inappropriate according to our Congregational Christian way of church government The freedom of the local church to order and carry out its affairs would be preserved However If the letter missive summoning the vicinage council and the actions and statement of the vicinage council itself give the appearance that the council is the installing unit then very serious questions are raised There needs to be an emphasis on the primary role of the church Is the new minister not adequately settled in his or her pastorate prior to the installation service on the basis of an issued call by the church and by acceptance of that call Is he or she any more fully equipped to serve the church by virtue of the installation service The answer to the first question should be yes and the answer to the second question should be no Recognition by sister churches is a worthy thing to have But the word installation carries some baggage that the Congregational Christian churches might well view with apprehension Charles Emerson Burton in his Manual of the Congregational Christian Churches 1936 says it is necessary to call a church council of the vicinage for the dismissal of a pastor where the pastor has been previously installed Burton seemed to recognize that pastors are not always installed and perhaps it is better they not be installed if a church must then consult a council prior to the dismissal of its pastor Other Congregational Christian manuals such as Henry David Gray s Bluebook of Congregational Usage 1966 76 mention installation services favorably as well But I do not believe there is adequate appreciation of the basic meaning of the word install Webster s Dictionary tells us that it means to place in office or dignity by seating in a stall or official seat or to establish in an indicated place condition or status Clearly if a person is not in office until installed by council then the same or similar council should have a role in his dismissal from office But that is more presbyterian than congregational How much better it would be if Congregational Christian churches dropped the word installation from their vocabulary except as it might pertain 25
When a minister is installed, just who does the installing    the local church, or some higher body   Who Installed Paul  ...
to refrigerators and public address systems How much better if we instead celebrated recognition services at which sister churches would have adequate opportunity to pay their respects to the new minister shortly after he takes office In this regard it is not facetious to raise the question Who installed the apostle Paul Many clerics in our time are caught up in the liturgical revival many speak favorably about a return to Canterbury and the episcopal way it appears that many yearn for the stability and security of the socalled apostolic succession There may be some in our own fellowship who would insist that they not be dismissed from a church except with the consultation of a council of sister churches But in his letter to the Galatians the apostle Paul makes it quite clear his independence of church councils For I would have you know brethren that the Gospel which was preached by me is not man s Gospel For I did not receive it from man nor was I taught it but it came First Congregational Church in Hanson Massachusetts EstablishEd 1748 A 250 member church near Boston seeks an ordained full time senior pastor to lead us in our spiritual journey after retirement of our pastor of ten years We have a large meetinghouse and provide a parsonage Please see our Church Information Form on the NACCC website and send your Minister Information Form and all communication to fcchsearch48 gmail com 26 through the revelation of Jesus Christ when He who had set me apart before I was born and had called me through His grace was pleased to reveal His Son to me in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles I did not confer with flesh and blood nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me but I went away into Arabia Gal 1 11 17 Paul apparently believed that his ministry was fully and adequately legitimized by the call of God and by the opportunity that he had to preach wherever the Gentiles might give him a listening ear He appears on the occasion of this letter to have encountered a problem in that the Galatians were sliding back into the enslaving traditions of religious hierarchy For freedom Christ has set us free Stand fast therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery Gal 5 1 If Paul had waited for a council of elders from Jerusalem to install him before he set forth on his church planting mission he might never have been able to depart from Judea Likewise Martin Luther might never have dared to defy the Roman pope Elder Brewster might never have dared to break with the Puritans who were content to stay within the connectional structures of the Anglican Church If we are truly Congregational Christians then we ought to be always as pilgrims We ought to be careful to make it clear that we are seeking a homeland beyond this world that we are people who desire a better country that is a Heavenly one Such do not need the security of being installed by their fellow clerics Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared for them a city Hebrews 11 16 The Rev Harvey Lord is a World War II infantryman who later graduated from the University of Maine and studied theology at Bangor Seminary and Hartford Seminary He served Congregational churches in Maine Connecticut Michigan and New Hampshire between1960 and 1993 and is now retired in South Paris Maine He first submitted this article to The Congregationalist in 1990 or 1991 It was not published at that time but undaunted he resubmitted it recently and it now appears 24 years later Our editorial wheels may turn slowly but they grind exceeding fine
to refrigerators and public address systems.How much better if we instead celebrated    recognition    services, at which ...
Repent your sins and forgive those of others if you would seek forgiveness Christian Forgiveness Unconditional Not entirely says a scholar by David Brattston A And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors Matthew 6 12 lthough we frequently utter this in prayer most Christians forget an important aspect to it God requires something from us or He will not forgive our sins In the same way Christians need not automatically forgive people who have wronged them but can require something from the wrongdoer or we are free to hold their sin against them Two verses after the line quoted above Jesus elaborated on what we must do to merit pardon If you forgive others their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others neither will your Father forgive your trespasses Matthew 6 14 15 The parable of the Unmerciful Servant predicts punishment for Christians who do not forgive and warns So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart Matthew 18 35 God s price for His pardon is repeated in Luke 6 37 Ephesians 4 32 and Colossians 3 13 Christians must forgive people who sinned against them as a condition for being forgiven themselves Mark 11 25 in the New Revised Standard Version is the same while some ancient Bibles contained a verse 26 If you do not forgive neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses Another of God s conditions is that we repent as in the case of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8 22 Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours and pray to 27
Repent your sins, and forgive those of others, if you would seek forgiveness.  Christian Forgiveness    Unconditional  Not...
the Lord that if possible the intent of your heart may be forgiven you The Apostle Paul commended Christians who punished a wayward believer so that he would repent and be forgiven 2 Corinthians 2 67 As we shall see an injured Christian may insist on repentance as a condition for pardoning someone who sinned against him or her This is not merely one interpretation of the Bible among many but was the meaning shared by saints God s pardon is not without conditions but requires that we at least repent and forgive others or we ourselves will remain unforgiven who knew the apostles personally and ministered with them Around A D 110 Polycarp whom Revelation 2 8 calls the angel of the church in Smyrna wrote to Christians in the town of Philippi Forgive and it shall be forgiven unto you be merciful that ye may obtain mercy Letter to the Philippians 2 3 The identical thought was expressed in the First Epistle of Clement 13 2 a letter from the church in the City of Rome to sinning Christians in Corinth It dates from the second half of the first century when some apostles were still alive and may have been composed by the Clement mentioned in Philippians 4 3 More dramatically it urges Let us fall down before the Lord and beseech Him with tears that He would mercifully be reconciled to us 1 Clement 48 1 28 This epistle was so highly esteemed and authoritative in the early centuries that it was included in some versions of the New Testament Another epistle found in some early Bibles is that ascribed to Paul s co worker Barnabas although it did not appear in its present wording until sometime between A D 70 and 132 If its author s did not live in apostolic times he or they overlapped with the lifetime of Polycarp and perhaps Clement This epistle pressed the need for repentance By thy hands thou shalt labor for the redemption of thy sins Epistle of Barnabas 19 10 Christian writings from the time of Jesus and for a hundred years thereafter thus exhibit a harmony among their authors that God s pardon is not without conditions but requires that we at least repent and forgive others or we ourselves will remain unforgiven Must a wronged Christian forgive unconditionally and automatically or can we insist on an apology or other amends from a wrongdoer Matthew s version of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant is often misquoted in isolation to support this proposition Then Peter came and said to him Lord if another member of the church sins against me how often should I forgive As many as seven times Jesus said to him Not seven times but I tell you seventy seven times Matthew 18 21 22 Looking at the whole of Christian literature in its first century instead of at isolated verses out of context we should consult the parallel passage in Luke Be on your guard If another disciple sins you must rebuke the offender and if there is repentance you must forgive And if the same person sins against you seven times a day and turns back to you seven times and says I repent you must forgive Luke 17 3 4 Note that this fuller exposition involves repentance and a specific request for pardon for
the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.    The Apostle Paul commended Christians who pun...
wrongdoers against human beings as well as God or at least gives the right to withhold forgiveness without them We should also consider the Gospel of the Nazaraeans an alleged record of Christ s teachings preserved among Christians who remained closer to Christianity s Jewish roots than the main body of the church It comes from early in the second century Jesus said If thy brother has sinned with a word and has made thee reparation receive him seven times in a day Simon his disciple said to him Seven times in a day The Lord answered and said to him Yea I say unto thee until seventy times seven times Note the requirement of repairing the wrong and specifically asking for forgiveness Even the all loving and all merciful Almighty stipulates conditions that must be fulfilled before He forgives The Apostle Paul often acknowledged that by nature Christians and other humans are more cold hearted than God Can God demand that we be more tender hearted than He Himself Dr David W T Brattston is a retired lawyer and judge on minor tribunals residing in Lunenburg Nova Scotia a UNESCO World Heritage Site He has been a self directed student of ancient Christian writings since a teenager His more than 250 articles on early and contemporary Christianity and the synthesis between them have been published by a wide variety of Christian denominations in every major English speaking country including The Congregationalist Spending the winter in southwest Florida We d love to have you join us Whether you ll be visiting southwest Florida for a week or several months there s an NACCC affiliated church close to wherever you re staying in Lee or Collier counties Fort Myers Cape Coral Bonita Springs Naples Marco Island Thomas A Edison Congregational Church 1619 Llewellyn Drive Fort Myers 239 334 4978 www taecc com Rev Douglas Kelchner Pastor First Congregational Church of Cape Coral 312 Santa Barbara Blvd 239 574 6184 www firstchurchcape org Rev Dewey Gierke Pastor Lighthouse Fellowship Congregational Church Meets at the Bonita Springs Lion s Club 10346 Pennsylvania Avenue 239 404 3264 www lighthousefcc com Rev Dennis Wilson Pastor First Congregational Church of Naples 6630 Immokalee Road 239 514 3500 www naplesflchurch com Rev Les Wicker Pastor United Church of Marco Island 320 North Barfield Drive 239 394 6572 www ucmarco org Rev Mark Williams Senior Minister We re all part of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches family 29
wrongdoers against human beings as well as God, or at least gives the right to withhold forgiveness without them. We shoul...
more light Winter reading suggestions for god s Free People Sacred Scripture Sacred War The Bible and the American Revolution by James P Byrd New York Oxford University Press 2013 256 pages 9 99 Kindle 25 16 hardcover Amazon Missionaries of Republicanism A Religious History of the Mexican American War by John C Pinheiro New York Oxford University Press 2014 256 pages 35 99 Kindle 40 50 hardcover Amazon America Aflame How the Civil War Created a Nation by David R Goldfield New York I n this centennial year of the outbreak of the War to End All Wars the foregoing titles treat five of the first six major conflicts in which the United States was involved All five works analyze to a greater or lesser extent the role of religion in the conduct of war And American history being what it is the leading role of Congregationalism comes especially into focus in the first three of these conflicts 30 by Steven Blackburn Bloomsbury Press 2012 640 pages 1 99 Kindle 24 01 hardcover 13 67 paperback Amazon The Cross of War Christian Nationalism and U S Expansion in the Spanish American War by Matthew McCullough Madison University of Wisconsin Press 2014 281 pages 13 99 Kindle 25 55 paperback Amazon The Great and Holy War How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins New York HarperOne 2014 448 pages 13 59 Kindle 19 72 hardcover 13 25 paperback Amazon There are many views of war some of which have an explicitly religious character Theories of just war from Augustine onward often appeal to religion for a sense of what justice consists of coming to the conclusion that war can be a necessary evil undertaken to combat greater evils Pacifism rejects the notion that any war can be just and pacifists have often appealed to the spirit of Christ to make their case Still others see in armed conflict a
more light  Winter reading suggestions for god   s Free People  Sacred Scripture, Sacred War  The Bible and the American R...
metaphor for the wars between good and evil fought inside the human breast Such characterizations are certainly varied just as the role of Congregationalism in these conflicts was certainly complex James P Byrd in his study of the American Revolution Sacred Scripture Sacred War treats Congregationalism largely in the context of the Puritan experience on the 18th century New England frontier In his analysis of the sermon as martial preaching Byrd cites a number of New England divines and discusses Abigail Adams perceived link between patriotism and Christianity While the imagery and biblical texts for such preaching rely heavily on Old Testament imagery echoes of the social contract think John Locke is also found in Puritan thought showing the clear resonance between Enlightenment thought and religiosity helping to fuel fervor for Independence Missionaries of Republicanism by John C Pinheiro presents an entirely different take on religion in war Many in Congregationalism including Lyman Beecher defined the struggle of the MexicanAmerican War in terms of American Protestantism versus Catholicism as part of the fight to retain Congregationalism s diminishing position of preeminence in the American religious world However the use of war to extend Congregationalism by opening Mexico to Protestant missions was opposed by figures such as Horace Bushnell though not for entirely altruistic reasons While America Aflame does not have as its main thesis the idea that religion was the central factor in the Civil War author David R Goldberg does assert that the political issue of slavery was redefined by the churches many of them in Abolitionist New England as a religious issue thus preventing a political solution Goldberg s idea that the question of slavery could have been dealt with peaceably before the end of the 19th century is controversial to be sure The idea that the faith which says blessed are the peacemakers resulted in peacemakers being marginalized is cause for reflection Matthew McCullough is a well recognized figure as a writer of history perhaps less well known is his role as a Protestant clergyman currently serving a church in Nashville Thus his view of the role of pastors as interpreters of the events of the Spanish American War to the broader American public comes from a sense of one of the things that clergy do In The Cross of War Congregationalist clergy figure as important in McCullough s analysis what is interesting is that in contrast to the Mexican American War half a century earlier Catholic religious leadership now helps inform the American civil religion rather than standing outside Philip Jenkins in The Great and Holy War suggests that World War I was something of a throw back religiously speaking The wars of religion that had wracked Europe through the 17th century were supposedly a thing of the past especially as Europe itself became less overtly religious But religious sensibilities re asserted themselves in the 1914 1918 conflict America became involved relatively late joining the fighting only in the final year Congregationalism s role in influencing attitudes towards the conflict was correspondingly limited However Jenkins thesis regarding how religion can both hijack and be hijacked by civil political and military conflicts provides much for us as people of faith to ponder now in this 21st century which appears to be no more peaceful than our earlier history The Rev Steven Blackburn Ph D is Hartford Seminary s Library Director He has served Congregational Christian Churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts and was elected to three terms as executive secretary of the Connecticut now Northeast Fellowship He has also chaired the NACCC s World Christian Relations Commission 31
metaphor for the wars between good and evil fought inside    the human breast.    Such characterizations are certainly var...
NeWs aND NeeDs oF our missioNs N e Ws o N e g r e at h o u r o F s h a r i N g The Mission and Outreach Ministry Council has been collecting donations for hunger relief in Kenya At the beginning of October there was 1 800 in donations 1 000 of which has been sent to Pilgrim s Presence Kenya The Council also sent 640 to Christ to the Villages Nigeria to purchase new tires for one of their vehicles m i s s i o N C D s a N D DV D s F o r s a l e volunteered for a weekend The students worked on Saturday helping an elderly woman and her daughter then helped the First Congregational Church of Etna celebrate its 165th anniversary on Sunday North Shore Congregational Church Fox Point Wis teamed up with Ozaukee Congregational Church Grafton Wis for a week of service A brief slide show of their trip can be seen at https www dropbox com s d4n7xvh42q8bde9 MissonT 28HD 29 WMV dl 0 So far in 2014 over 100 needy families have been helped The work exceeded 800 000 in market value They estimate a need for 10 furnaces to support needy families this winter m o r g a N s Co t t u P Dat e Give the gift of music from one of our missions Merry Christmas Burmese Christmas songs sung by Naw Pale Say wife of Rev SaDo of Congregational Church of Myanmar Myanmar and Saw True Man Congregational Bible College graduate Heart Trails Timeless Hymns of the Ages sung by Nina Castillo wife of Symphony John Castillo of National Association of Congregational Churches Philippines Contact Linda Miller at the NACCC office to purchase them 20 each includes postage and handling u P Dat e F r o m hosaNNa iNDustries Hosanna Industries Pennsylvania is already planning for its 2015 volunteer schedule If there is a church or school group who would like to get on the schedule contact Emily Cadenhead emily_safran yahoo com On Sept 12 14 a dozen service learning students from Olivet College led by the Rev Mike Fales 32 The Morgan Scott Project Tennessee has been very busy This year they provided seeds plants and fertilizer to help 385 families plant gardens enjoy fresh vegetables this summer and can or freeze their extra vegetables for the winter They gave 2 000 in scholarships to three graduating seniors for college this fall They hosted six work groups totaling 76 volunteers who built three wheelchair ramps put a new floor in a home and built a bedroom for a young boy with muscular dystrophy Their free medical clinic saw 60 adults They gave out food to 513 families Morgan Scott also provided emergency aid such as paying utility bills rent or prescription co payments buying eyeglasses or offering dental assistance to 55 families at a cost of 9 000 Their dream is to open a dental clinic NeWs From arg e NtiNa Dr Harding Stricker and his father the Rev Teodoro Stricker of the Asociacion Civil Cristiana Congregational Argentina traveled in October to the southern Brazilian city of Panamb where a
NeWs aND NeeDs oF our missioNs N e Ws o N e g r e at h o u r o F s h a r i N g  The Mission and Outreach Ministry Council ...
Linda Miller Editor symposium of the Theological Commission of the International Congregational Fellowship took place They both were presenters h o s t i N g a m i s s i o N a ry The Rev Hector and Diane Mendez of Stafford Springs Congregational Church Stafford Springs Conn hosted the Rev Charles Nyane Word Alive Mission Ghana after the NACCC Annual Meeting and Conference It was both an honor and a pleasure to have the Rev Charles Nyane share our home wrote Hector He has a wonderful testimony about how faith has provided for him and all that he has accomplished with the Word Alive Mission in Takoradi Ghana As Rev Charles spoke of the conditions in his village and of the neighboring communities we were reminded of the opportunity we have to share our blessings with those who lack dependable resources such as transportation power plumbing etc Rev Charles does so much with the little that he is given I felt humbled by his presence He was a blessing to me and to my wife and we will never forget the time he spent with us m e N au l s C h o o l s P r e s i D e N t gilbert Visits ChiNa President and Head of School Lindsey Gilbert and International Student Advisor Dr Feng Zhou travelled this summer to visit Menaul School New Mexico s Dual Diploma partners in Weifang and Taiyuan China For more information about Menaul School s international programs go to http www menaulschool com programs irtenational_programs NeeDs Christmas iN our missioNs Christmas needs of the missions are listed on the NACCC Web site at http www naccc org CMSUploads 1562_2014_Christmas_List_website pdf P r ay e r r e Q u e s t s Prayers for Charles Sagay Mission School of Hope Cameroon He went to Nigeria in September for his mother s funeral and then the government closed its borders due to the Ebola outbreak At press time Charles cannot yet leave Nigeria Prayers for Christ to the Villages Nigeria They are having a difficult time paying the teachers salaries Prayers for Rev Philip Malakar and his family Indian Community Fellowship Northern India They have been given notice to leave their home because they are Christian They are looking for a permanent home so they don t have to face this kind of persecution in the future Prayers for Fishers of Men Mexico Victor Zaragoza will be taking a team to Ciudad Juarez Chihuahua They will hold a Medical Crusade there from November 18 24 2014 They ask for prayer support from October 18 through Dec 24 This is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico Prayers are needed and appreciated Thank you for your support For more information on any of these missions or to make a donation to any of the above projects please contact Linda Milller at the NACCC office 800 262 1620 ext 1618 or lmiller naccc org The Mission and Outreach Ministry Council NACCC PO Box 288 Oak Creek WI 53154 For a complete listing of NACCC Mission Projects please go to our Web site www naccc org and click on Missions 33
Linda Miller, Editor  symposium of the Theological Commission of the International Congregational Fellowship took place. T...
Net meNDiNg always room for trello I f you ve never heard of Trello that makes two of us Turns out the Vitality Ministry Council of the NACCC has been using it for about two years to stay organized and keep in touch and other NA entities are starting to climb on board as well Trello is a slick simple cloud based planner for groups If you ve ever used Post It notes to organize your thoughts or collaborated with a friend using 3x5s and a bulletin board then you get the idea exactly Only underneath all that simplicity there are some surprisingly complex features First the whole thing is cloud based and they have a snazzy app for tablets which means it works across all different kinds of computers All users are up to date all the time and your data is backed up pretty much continuously No lost files Nobody s out of the loop Second every one of those little Post It like notes has room for an ongoing conversation with your team shared checklists that track completion and an attachment archive that will hold pretty much any digital file you like The iPad version I m using to write this article even links straight to my DropBox To quote the Rev Dr D Elizabeth Mauro Dean of the Center for Congregational Leadership I really appreciate having the materials we need for meetings in front of me organized in a way that minimizes hunting for them I also like the fact that it decreases the number of e mails with attachments that need managing as minutes and other documents can be posted directly to Trello by any user of the board Obviously these benefits come with a privacy cost Trello offers three tiers of privacy private to you private to your organization and public to the world But even a private setting doesn t change the basic rule of the Internet Once it s out there you can t get it back Use your brain To sum up Trello is a free and functional online organizer simple enough for regular people and definitely robust Trello s Welcome Board makes it easy to get started enough for small to mid size churches Continued on p 38 The Rev Robert J Brink writes for us on how to make computer age technology work for churches If you have a technology related question for Net Mending e mail Rob RevSmilez com or write Rev Rob Brink 1116 Blaine Ave Janesville WI 53545 34
Net meNDiNg  always room for trello  I  f you   ve never heard of Trello, that makes two of us. Turns out, the Vitality Mi...
letter lobb still misiNFormeD Doug Lobb is at it again presenting conjecture as truth In his recent response to Steven Schafer s Mithraism and Christianity Delighted by Schafer however September 2014 pp 45 46 he is still insisting that Robin Meyers is correct that Emperor Constantine is the one who engineered our current version of Christianity and that Jesus is not really the Christ at all Both beliefs are fictitious inventions Many documents from Constantine s time are extant and nowhere did he ever set the day of Christian worship much less invent Christian doctrine of which he knew little or merge it with Mithraism as Meyers claims In The History of the Christian Church from the early 4th century Eusebius states that churches everywhere had always followed the teachings of Jesus as related in the Gospels and in the letters of Paul et al Constantine had nothing to do with any of this Furthermore Lobb is wrong to insist that he is following Jesus rather than worshiping Christ When Jesus asked Peter who he was Peter said You are the Christ the Son of the living God Matthew 16 13 17 To really follow the Jesus of history is also to believe in the Christ of faith for they are one and the same Articles and editorials in The Congregationalist are by the authority of the editor and do not necessarily reflect policies and opinions of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches The NACCC reserves freedom of expression to its authors as well as freedom of opinion to its readers EDItOr Larry F Sommers PuBlISHEr Carrie Dahm Warren R Angel Oceanside California Subscriptions Policy EDItOrIAl INquIrIES CONtrIButINg EDItOr Larry F Sommers 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53154 800 262 1620 ext 1615 editor naccc org Linda Miller CONtrIButINg PHOtOgrAPHEr Copy deadline for each issue is noted in the previous issue s Calendar section letters to the Editor are welcome All letters may be edited for clarity and length We regret we cannot publish or respond to all letters Barry W Szymanski grAPHIC DESIgN Kris Grauvogl ADVErtISINg INquIrIES Carrie Dahm NACCC 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53154 800 262 1620 ext 1612 cdahm naccc org PrOOFrEADEr Debbie Johnston EDItOrIAl ADVISOry tEAM Rev Rob Brink Rev Dawn Carlson Becci Dawson Cox Wes Block The NACCC reserves the right to refuse any advertisement SuBSCrIPtION INquIrIES Courtney Schultz NACCC 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53154 800 262 1620 ext 1615 cschultz naccc org The Congregationalist ISSN 0010 5856 Postage paid at Madison WI 53714 9998 Published quarterly by the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 Periodicals postage paid at Madison WI and additional mailings offices POSTMASTER Send address changes to The Congregationalist 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 2014 The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches All rights reserved The Congregationalist Online Our Web site congregationalist org features PDF files of the current issue plus back issues and a searchable index of all articles Each new issue is posted on the Web when the printed version is mailed so you can read it online days or even weeks before the printed copy reaches your mailbox Enjoy The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Bringing together Congregational Christian Churches for mutual care and outreach to our world in the name of Jesus Christ One subscription is provided free of charge to each individual requestor who is a member of a church in fellowship with the National Association One complimentary Newcomer Copy will be sent to any person one time only upon request by a church in fellowship with the National Association One subscription to The Congregationalist is provided free of charge to each church in fellowship with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and one to each accredited theological seminary on the magazine s mailing list With the exceptions stated above the subscription price for The Congregationalist is 15 per year or 75 for six bundled copies sent to one address Single copies may be purchased from the National Association office for 3 75 plus 3 20 to cover shipping and handling We seek and gratefully accept voluntary donations to help keep this magazine in print Donations are tax deductible except for the first 15 of donation per subscription received by the taxpayer per year SubScribing canceling Moving E mail subscriptions congregationalist org Mail The Congregationalist NACCC 8473 S Howell Ave Oak Creek WI 53201 0288 Phone NACCC office at 800 262 1620 35
letter lobb still misiNFormeD Doug Lobb is at it again   presenting conjecture as truth  In his recent response to Steven ...
a lo N g t h e Way News from the fellowship of churches A ClAAS ACt Evangelical Divinity School he began his pastorate at MayfairPlymouth in August 1975 and saw the church through numerous changes over the years including a major building expansion institution of an associate pastor position and the addition of a contemporary Sunday morning service and a Saturday evening service Pastor David J Claassen retired after nearly 40 years in the pulpit of MayfairPlymouth Congregational Christian Church Toledo Ohio A Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies graduate of Trinity Alan Cox As a ventriloquist Dave and his pulpit buddy Ricky taught and entertained both children and adults A prolific writer Dave is the author of more than ten books weekly columns for several newspapers and many articles in The Congregationalist An avid and accomplished photographer specializing in nature and landscape photography he has published photos in magazines on church bulletin covers and online Diann left and David Claassen are honored by their Toledo congregation Gifts were presented by Associate Pastor Rupert Loyd and the church s new lead pastor Joe French right Dave and his wife Diann plan to continue in service dividing their time between Florida and Mexico near their children and other family members In a retirement celebration Oct 12 members of the Toledo congregation prayed for the Claassens and gave them two handmade crosses one for each of their new homes yOu COulD HAVE HEArD A gAVEl DrOP On Sept 29 2014 The last regular meeting of the Executive Committee Board of Directors of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches was called to order by Chairman Bill trump at 2 00 PM CDT by conference call according to official minutes recorded by NACCC Secretary Judy Campbell Thus ended the existence of the 12 member committee of dedicated volunteers serving staggered four year terms that had managed affairs between Annual Meetings since the association s birth Oct 25 1956 Already in place were two new structures A Leadership Council of nine voting and six non voting members tasked with the association s vision and programs and a seven member Board of Directors to oversee finances and fiduciary responsibilities 36 Time will tell how well the new structure will serve the NACCC but there were promising indications in the brisk activity of the new teams activated by three Ministry Councils for Missions and Outreach Growth and Vitality under the Leadership Council An innovation designed to expedite work flow and information sharing throughout the association is the use of Trello boards a kind of slick simple cloud based planner for groups according to The Congregationalist s tech guru rob Brink see Net Mending p 33 Each of the leadership entities in the new structure has its own Trello board where members can post agendas schedules plans and working documents WHItHEr yOutH In its Oct 23 telephone conference the Leadership Council unanimously
a lo N g t h e Way  News from the fellowship of churches  A ClAAS ACt  Evangelical Divinity School, he began his pastorate...
The NAPF HOPE Task Team has the authority to plan and implement a conference or mission trip for teens and young adults of a style and at a location and time which best meet the needs and desires of the local churches and the youth who participate in these events states the new policy Appropriate ways will be used to communicate the nature and experiences of these events to the gathered delegation of the NACCC In addition the NAPF HOPE Task Team will attempt to hold conferences or mission trips in close proximity to the NACCC Annual Meeting and Conference and when possible will make every effort to facilitate interaction between youth and young adults gathered for the NAPF HOPE conference or mission trip and the gathered delegation of the NACCC The new policy grew from the desire to build on recent successful youth conferences which have featured a strong mission component in localities with outstanding human needs while accommodating the John Doud approved a new policy proposed by the Growth Ministry Council and its Youth Task Team giving the team broad autonomy in planning the style location and time of the annual youth conference The Rev Robert Livingston head pastor at First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor opens the Saturday session of the two day Michigan Conference annual meeting desire of both adult and youth attendees for frequent intergenerational gatherings tWICE tHE FuN The Michigan Conference of Congregational Christian Churches held its annual Continued on p 38 First Squantum meeting house ca 1914 left and today SquANtO WOulD BE PlEASED The First Church of Squantum Mass Congregational kicked off its centennial celebration Saturday evening Sept 20 with a candlelight worship service followed by a catered dinner with community story telling historical photo and memorabilia displays and dance by the Brady Academy for Irish Dancing Special guests included former pastors Quincy mayor Thomas Koch state representative Bruce Ayers and members of sister Congregational churches Sunday s worship featured a Service of Rededication The church was originally dedicated Sept 20 1914 thanks to the efforts of Christians of different denominations First Church s founding seems to be very organic rising up out of the community s need to have shared space to worship God and meet together the rev Doug gray The church s first pastor rev Thomas W Davison had been organizing and teaching summer only Sunday School for children starting in 1910 as a mission outreach of the Atlantic Memorial Church The First Church of Squantum continues this tradition of community service hosting Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops Daisy and Brownie troops Squantum Community Association lectures a community book group a Mommy and Me program for pre schoolers and their adults and dances for middle school students This summer the church offered Vacation Bible School free of charge to anyone who wanted to come Says Rev Gray This fellowship s commitment to reaching out to the community to being a light of grace in Squantum is part of what drew me to this church last year I think we are really making a difference for God 37
   The NAPF HOPE Task Team has the authority to plan and implement a conference or mission trip for teens and young adults...
a lo N g t h e Way Continued from p 37 meeting Oct 17 18 hosted by First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor The association has resumed its traditional two day format after years of doing oneday annual meetings This year s meeting like last year s two day conference at Sutton s Bay Congregational Church was deemed a great success In addition to the business meeting led by the association s moderator the rev John Doud Arbor Grove Congregational Church Jackson Mich the event featured three special presentations A Friday evening program by Dr Michele Johns on Church Hymnody Explored considered and sang from the diverse hymns and text of the New Century Hymnal and Hymns for a Pilgrim People edited by the rev Cynthia Bacon of Heritage Congregational Church Madison Wis A performance later on Friday evening by Our Own Thing Chorale led by founder and director Willis Patterson a University of Michigan professor emeritus The culturally diverse chorale is committed to preserving and performingAfricanAmerican spirituals and traditional contemporary choral compositions Saturday morning s keynote address Religious Liberty in the United States Then and Now by Christopher lund J D Lund addressed the everchanging legal climate of religiosity in America from the Revolutionary era to today touching on the meaning of prayer in public places and the place of political conversations in churches Altogether 53 people 17 ministers and 36 lay delegates represented 21 churches on Friday and 59 people 19 clergy 40 lay represented 23 churches on Saturday Five other churches sent voting proxies through churches that attended SWIM INtO CAl WESt COMPlEtE The CalWest Association received into membership the six churches of the Southwest Inter Mountain Fellowship of Churches upon the latter s formal dissolution Six churches from SWIM requested church membership in Cal West in May and the Association granted it They are Community Church of Warren Bisbee Arizona Congregational Church of Sun City Arizona Congregational Church of the Valley Chandler Arizona Old Stone Congregational Church Lyons Colorado Community Congregational Church Big Piney Wyoming and First Congregational Church Salt Lake City Utah reported The Cal West Congregationalist in its Autumn 2014 edition Mission continued from p 22 Net Mending continued from p 33 breaking the awestruck silence that filled the vehicle I nodded in agreement Found by a relational God who chooses to interact with us personally That is the Lord we serve But it doesn t matter how much I like something If nobody uses it it s useless So before you announce anything make it easy for people to get involved Kristen Schuyler at 19 years old is in her first year at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg Pa She grew up in Manville N J and has attended the Congregational Church of Bound Brook N J since she was in elementary school 38 First take the time to plan a few projects yourself Second take some more time and build a useful collection of notes checklists and attachments so that when people join they can see the benefits right away Third introduce it as an experiment It s free We re going to try it out for three months If it doesn t work as well as we hope we can always ditch it and we re not out a penny Follow those three guidelines and your church just might gain a tool that people actually use
a lo N g t h e Way  Continued from p.37  meeting Oct. 17-18, hosted by First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor. The assoc...
Pa s to r at e s a N D P u l P i t s orDiNatioNs Mt Hope Congregational Church Livonia Mich ordained the Rev Justin Olivetti with the concurrence of a vicinage council Sept 28 2014 iN searCh seNIOr MINIsTers Ashby Congregational Church and Hyannis Congregational Church share pastor Ashby and Hyannis Neb Colebrook Congregational Church Colebrook Conn First Congregational Church of Maltby Snohomish Wash Glenolden Congregational Church Glenolden Pa LaMoille Congregational Community Church Marshalltown Iowa McGraft Memorial Congregational Church Muskegon Mich North Shore Congregational Church Fox Point Wis Plymouth Congregational Church Minneapolis Minn SouthCross Community Church Burnsville Minn Union Congregational Christian Church Marbury Ala Westchester Congregational Church Colchester Conn PArT TIMe MINIsTer Second Congregational Church Jewett City Conn Orthodox Congregational Church Petersham Mass NON NACCC CHurCHes Elm Street Congregational Church Bucksport Maine First Congregational Church Ashland Neb People s Congregational Church Bayport Minn Prairie View Christian Church Norway Iowa First Congregational Church Hanson Mass Pine Hill Congregational Church West Bloomfield Mich Wakeman Congregational Church Wakeman Ohio First Congregational Church Vermontville Mich Plymouth Church Brooklyn N Y Wyben Union Church Westfield Mass Congregational Church of the Chimes Sherman Oaks Calif CaleNDar JaNuary 26 General copy deadline for The Congregationalist March 2015 issue Contact Larry Sommers editor naccc org or 800 262 1620 ext 1610 saVe the Date aPril 20 23 2015 46th Annual NACCC Ministers Convocation Weber Center Adrian Michigan JuNe 18 25 2015 Missionary Assistance Corps trip to Misi n Mazahua Mexico Initial information posted at http www naccc org CMSUploads 1540_MM_Newsletter_2015_Prospectus pdf JuNe 20 23 2015 NACCC 61st Annual Meeting and Conference Salt Lake City Utah 39
Pa s to r at e s a N D P u l P i t s orDiNatioNs Mt. Hope Congregational Church, Livonia, Mich., ordained the Rev. Justin ...
8473 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek WI 53154 0288 61st Annual Meeting and Conference National Association of Congregational Christian Churches Steve Greenwood He trusts us with His world Let the rivers clap their hands let the mountains sing together for joy Psalm 98 8 Salt Lake City June 20 23 2015
8473 South Howell Avenue Oak Creek, WI 53154-0288  61st Annual Meeting and Conference  National Association of Congregatio...